iPad mini Is the Ipad Mini with cellular service worth it?

Jtuner77

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 15, 2008
112
17
I really never plan on hooking it up to cell service but I would like to have that option in case.

I was thinking I could just jailbreak my Iphone 5 and then tether the Mac Air Retina off of it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

ugcop

macrumors 6502a
Mar 15, 2012
599
103
Traveling @ Warp Speed ...... USA
It really depends on how you will be using it. My mini goes with me. Am I going to stop take time to activate hot spot each time I want to use it? Not me. Cell is worth it for the way I use it.

If you are going to spend your time where you always or almost always have wifi, then it probably isn't worth it.
 

carjakester

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2013
2,226
55
Midwest
I like having verizon for the service even if it isn't activated because i get a free upgrade on nhl gamecenter.
 

episcientist

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2014
21
0
T-Mobile offers 200 MB of free data every month. While not great, if you are mostly connected to wifi and need occasional coverage the extra up front cost for cellular might be worth it.
 

richardbb85

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2009
650
22
mini size is too close to the iphone, i just dont get the point to get celluclar service for ipad unless money is no issue.
 

7thson

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2012
657
296
Six Rivers, CA
T-Mobile offers 200 MB of free data every month. While not great, if you are mostly connected to wifi and need occasional coverage the extra up front cost for cellular might be worth it.
While that is a gracious offer from T-Mobile, one needs to have a cell plan with data to get this deal.

As far as whether or not it's worth it, if you can afford it, why not? I'm ambivalent about not having it. At times it would be great, the other 99% of the time I don't need it.

Edit: this is wrong. Please ignore.
 
Last edited:

Tork

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2006
209
114
While that is a gracious offer from T-Mobile, one needs to have a cell plan with data to get this deal.
Nope -- anybody can get the free 200 MB. It's the reason I went with a cellular one myself and I'm happy I did. I didn't think I'd use it much, but it turns out I just use my iPad more now. 200 MB is plenty for checking email and catching up on the news a couple times a week when wifi isn't available. I've always been reluctant to do mobile banking and other things requiring more security on public wifi networks too, and now I can just switch to cellular data to do them. If you're on the fence, I'd say go for it and grab a T-Mo one.
 

Truefan31

macrumors 68040
Aug 25, 2012
3,416
657
While that is a gracious offer from T-Mobile, one needs to have a cell plan with data to get this deal.

As far as whether or not it's worth it, if you can afford it, why not? I'm ambivalent about not having it. At times it would be great, the other 99% of the time I don't need it.


Not true. Pop a tmo sim in, restart ipad. Tmo settings pop up select view account. Create prepaid account which doesn't ask for cc or ssn, select free 200 mb. That's it
 

pocketpenguin

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2012
117
0
Nope -- anybody can get the free 200 MB. ... If you're on the fence, I'd say go for it and grab a T-Mo one.
Correct, I've got two tablets on the 200 plan, no tmobile account in my name. Except the two free 200's ;). One tablet is an ATT ipad 3, and the other is a verizon ipad air.

I would suggest not getting the tmobile air or rmini. Go for the Verizon ( or sprint if you must). The reason is flexibility. Both sprint and verizon lock their networks to only work with iPads sold for their network. The iPads are technically unlocked, but sprint and verizon record the serial numbers of those sold with their sim, and only allow those iPads on their network. Technically the ipad is unlocked, but the carrier network is locked.

You can use a verizon ipad air/rmini on the verizon, tmobile, and ATT networks, all you need is the correct network sim. The same is true for sprint except obviously it is limited to sprint, tmobile and ATT.

If you get a tmobile or ATT ipad air/Rimini then it will only work with tmobile and ATT. Some folks have reported that they can get a non-verizon ipad to work with a previously activated verizon sim, or by getting a customer service rep to enter the iPad's serial number into the verizon database, but this is not guaranteed. I've not seen posts by anyone who has gotten sprint to add their non-sprint ipad to their network.

In short, why limit yourself, get a verizon ipad air one rMini for maximum flexibility at the same price.
 

NovemberWhiskey

macrumors 68040
May 18, 2009
3,012
1,262
This i sone of those things where it is useless when you have wifi, and it crucial when you don't.

It all really depends on how often you will use the ipad without a wifi signal. Is that worth the extra ~$120 or so for LTE?

I took one trip from LA to SF, and had data the whole trip (3 days) in the car, in the hotel (where they charge for wifi) and everywhere we went. That, in itself, was worth it to me.

However, since then, I've always had wifi so it never came into play again.

When you don't have wifi, the ipad becomes almost useless since most things are done via internet now.

The T-mobile deal was enough to push me over to getting the LTE model.
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,028
2,534
mini size is too close to the iphone, i just dont get the point to get celluclar service for ipad unless money is no issue.
The screen area of an iPad mini is 4.38x larger than that of the iPhone 5/5s. I don't think this is "too close".
 

j6ppc

macrumors newbie
Apr 15, 2012
1
0
I really never plan on hooking it up to cell service but I would like to have that option in case.

I was thinking I could just jailbreak my Iphone 5 and then tether the Mac Air Retina off of it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Tethering/hotspotting to your iPhone is a great way to go either via jailbreak or enabling that feature via your carrier (some charge IIRC $10-15 a month for the privilege).

*If* T-Mobile works for you (major metro areas seem mostly OK*) then porting your iPhone over might make sense for you. Tmobile currently allows hotspotting/tethering @ no charge; we switched about 6 weeks ago and have been both extremely happy with pricing ($45 less for the 2 phones on our family plan Vs. AT& f'nT). With data coverage as good or better than AT&T in the areas we frequent we could not be happier.

Both my wife & I have made good use of that hotspot/tethering feature she for her iPad (wifi only) myself for my kindle fire & work laptop+VPN.

As always YMMV. I also bought a refurb T-mobile 4g hotspot (on demand only) from T-mobile for $48. I bought it before I knew about the free tethering/hotspot on the phones because after 40 days on their network post activation they'll unlock the device which is important to us because we both travel overseas & generally speaking a local SIM is cheaper than the international data add-ons offered by most US providers.

The on demand only thing costs $10 per month but they give a $10 credit if you add it to a plan that already has phones on it so if you don't buy data (fairly reasonable) net impact to the bill is precisely null.

In a general sense- No. I don't think the price difference is worth paying if you have a decent workaround.

Bests

Jon

*We are traveling to Kodiak Alaska in April where T-Mobile notes on the coverage map that coverage is provided by "a service partner". I expect it might suck in which case I'll forward my number to a local sim and swap the T-M sim out for the week. No big deal, it is kind of a corner case I can live with for the duration of the trip- I'm used to sim swapping anyway while traveling.
 
Last edited:

Tork

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2006
209
114
I would suggest not getting the tmobile air or rmini. Go for the Verizon ( or sprint if you must). The reason is flexibility.
That's what I did for the exact reason you mentioned! Bought a "Verizon" rmini, ordered up a free T-Mo nano sim, popped out the Verizon sim and replaced it with the T-Mo sim, signed up for T-Mo service right on the iPad, and was online in less than a total of five minutes. Free T-Mo data now with pretty good LTE coverage where I live, and the option to pop in the Verizon sim later and sign up for their service if I ever move or make an extended trip to a place with poor or no T-Mo coverage someday. I think it's a great suggestion.
 

ron7624

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2011
2,228
437
Houston, Texas area
Having data capability is a definite +. Mine goes with me everywhere.
In addition LTE service is so much faster than Wi-Fi it's a pleasure to use when you're not on Wi-Fi.
My 2 cents
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,836
30,359
Boston
Its worth it if you really don't need the LTE service in your usage.

My wife has a wifi only and she's happy with it. She only uses it at home or at places that offer free wifi.

I on the other hand bring it with me most places and the LTE comes in very handy.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
If you travel outside the country a lot then yes it's a godsend if you think about it.

However if you don't then no it makes more sense to tether
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,373
1,132
Charlotte, NC
Yes it's worth it. As noted above T-Mobile now gives out 200MB free so there's not even an additional monthly charge for the data anymore. Just the initial $130 more to get the cellular one.
 

ScottNWDW

macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2008
1,148
247
Orlando, Florida
Last year I went on vacation. Took my iPad 3 with WiFi with me. The resort said they had free WiFi. Since this was a road trip figured I could check on things at planned stops along the way at places like McDonald's or Starbuck's. while on the road did not have too many problems getting WiFi service, except at a McDonald's where the service was so slow it kept dropping. Finally make it to the resort and their Wi-Fi was out of service due to an issue with their provider, Verizon. They had hoped it would be up later in the day, but it actually took 3 days to come back up. so no WiFi for 3 days unless I took my iPad to the local Starbuck's about 6 blocks away.

After returning home, AT&T started their NEXT program and it sounded good to me so I upgraded from a 16GB WiFi iPad 3, to a 64GB iPad 4 with WiFi+Cellular. I have loved it ever since, so much so I just upgraded my WiFi only iPad mini (1st Gen with 64MB) to the Retina Mini with 128GB and WiFi+Cell. As far as service goes, having the two iPads added less than $10 each to my iPhone plan when you figure in the discount I get through my company on AT&T. It seems worth it to me since I won't have an issue like I had on vacation again.

The vacation wasn't the only thing that made me change my mind, I had been toying with the idea of going to a Cellular iPad for awhile, the vacation just through it over the edge for me. Public free WiFi was just so slow, when you could get connected or there were so many different networks the you were constantly waiting for it to switch to the nearest or strongest signal, (i.e. at the Mall). In addition to that depending on where I was taking my break at work WiFi was either available or it wasn't. Now I don't have to worry about it at all. Cellular is there when I need it and WiFi is there when I need it.
 

JonMPLS

macrumors 65816
May 23, 2010
1,492
67
MN
I think it is worth it. The rMini is my take anywhere iPad. I did not like being tied to wifi. Also, I started noticing that ATT LTE can be WAY faster than many of the free wifi connections. Most of the time I leave wifi off now.
 

TJ61

macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2011
811
3
An added bonus with the cellular models is the GPS chip that will work whether or not you are paying for data. If that's of interest to you it could make a big difference in your "worth it" calculation.

Of course, if you're not paying for data you don't get real-time map data, but there are all sorts of off-line map data apps.
 

7thson

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2012
657
296
Six Rivers, CA
Nope -- anybody can get the free 200 MB. It's the reason I went with a cellular one myself and I'm happy I did. I didn't think I'd use it much, but it turns out I just use my iPad more now. 200 MB is plenty for checking email and catching up on the news a couple times a week when wifi isn't available. I've always been reluctant to do mobile banking and other things requiring more security on public wifi networks too, and now I can just switch to cellular data to do them. If you're on the fence, I'd say go for it and grab a T-Mo one.
Not true. Pop a tmo sim in, restart ipad. Tmo settings pop up select view account. Create prepaid account which doesn't ask for cc or ssn, select free 200 mb. That's it
I'm so disappointed in the nice man at the T-Mobile store who lied to my face. Thanks for the clarification.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,970
68
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Worth is always subjective. It's your call to make but if you just want to collect opinions from people with varying preferences and priorities then don't overlook the countless prior discussions as this is a very common topic.
https://www.google.com/search?q=ipad+cellular+worth&rlz=1C1CHKZ_enUS437US437&oq=ipad+cellular+worth&aqs=chrome..69i57.3874j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=ipad+cellular+worth+site:forums.macrumors.com
 

hindmost

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2009
189
68
I really never plan on hooking it up to cell service but I would like to have that option in case.....

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
I have no real need to hook up either my new iPad Air nor my new iPad mini to cell service ASIDE from letting my Granddaughter playing at kids sites while riding in my car.

That being my only ‘need’ I opted for the new AT&T Mobile Plan that provides iPhone coverage of unlimited text, talk and PERSONAL HOT SPOT over a AT&T LTE cell connect exceeding 40MBS downloads. Hooked into Bluetooth for the ‘hot spot. slows it down big time....but still workable. The REAL VALUE FOR ME is there is NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for the tether capability and I have 10GB of data each month to fritter away.

As you can see, from my comments and that of others....each person has their own rationale for what they choose. It will be the same for you.